February 21, 2019

PDP to Nigerians: Vote and reclaim your great nation

Osita Chidoka

We thank Nigerians for their resilience and fortitude as we head into Saturday’s election. You have my admiration and gratitude for your patience in the face of this unexpected disruption to your lives.

Osita Chidoka

The PDP recognizes the undue financial burden placed on you by this delay. We have a deep appreciation for all those who are doing their part to ease costs and help facilitate travel nation-wide.

We also recognize and deeply appreciate the commitment to honoring our democratic process, displayed at a cost, by the international, regional and local observers, who have stayed on to help certify that when we vote, our vote will count.

Today, I beseech all Nigerians to come out on Saturday 23rd February to vote and to make your power known at the ballot box.

The world is watching Nigeria. The PDP calls upon you to be patient, peaceful and tolerant. Show Africa and the world our fierce commitment to democracy, to transparency and to the rule of law.

The PDP has taken lessons from the “Osun Playbook.” We have focused our efforts on giving you, the Nigerian people, the confidence that your vote, as expressed at the ballot box, will count.

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Local and international Observer groups have set up various models of vote tabulation that will enhance the credibility and validity of the election. All parties have had the privilege of reviewing the official PVT system’s potential to scientifically and statistically validate the election within an acceptable margin of error.

This government’s failure to improve and deepen the reforms of INEC remain a sad reflection of its deeply ingrained maladministration that rejects institution building, transparency and displays an arrogant disrespect of legal and constitutional processes.

Vice President Atiku Abubakar pledges to commence the process of restoring the credibility and independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission within the first 100days in office in line with existing reports, whitepapers and international best practice. The logistical failure of INEC and indeed any other government agency will not reoccur under the watch of Atiku Abubakar.

For those who may wish to dishonor our democracy, especially the Security Agencies, we use this opportunity to sound a note of caution. We are a constitutional democracy and all organs and agencies of government must abide by the established rules and laws of our land. We assure the security agencies that our members will remain peaceful, law-abiding and vigilant.

However, we are fully prepared to resist intimidation, extra judicial procedures and partisanship on the part of security agencies by reporting acts to the PDP national hotline 097 000 551 for onward broadcast to Nigerians and the World.

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We remind security agencies that it is only an election and not a war against Nigerians. The choice of language of the government and security Chiefs leaves us with the impression that the peaceful election of 2015 is not the model for 2019 election.

We call on the military, the police, and all other security agents to do their patriotic duty to the citizens of this great country, hold true to their legal mandate, display their commitment to the rule of law, act with restraint and in accordance to the law. Regardless of party, our security forces serve and protect Nigeria and her citizens first.

We assure all government functionaries involved in the election and beyond that the Atiku Abubakar government will not engage in witch hunts, persecution or score settling. Our government will be guided by the rule of law, respect for human rights and embrace differences in opinion and approach. Our priority will be to unify the country and heal the divisions sowed over the past four years.

As the party to beat in this election, we assure Nigerians that we are prepared to work with voters to #DefendYourVote. Our innovative Simultaneous Vote Count System (SVC) has been deployed to ensure that the result of the polling units remain the trusted source to validate the final collated results.

The SVC is a crisis de-escalation mechanism that will assure that PDP members accept the results of a free and fair election and that the country remains peaceful and respectful of its differences.

We have also established, trained and remobilized our extensive network of Situation Rooms, call centers and over 176,000 party agents, all working nation-wide to ensure that the results of the election adequately reflect the will of the people.

All our members and supporters can do their part to participate in the vote count and announcement at their various poll units and make copies of INEC form 60E to be pasted at the unit.

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The scope of our preparation and effort is historic and will provide us real time information with near certainty to accept or challenge the declared results.

All efforts must now be made to ensure that the Saturday date holds, and that Nigerians are given their inherent right to elect their leaders.

We stress our willingness to cooperate with INEC, civil society and other domestic and international stakeholders, to ensure the integrity of the process and maintain the confidence of the electorate.

The future is in our hands, particularly with country’s young men and women, who have fought for a seat at the table. This election must be a bridge to the next generation.

On election day, Nigerians are again confronted with a choice – to unify our great nation or to remain divided. Dear Nigerians, we are greater than the sum of our parts. This is our country, go out and reclaim her.

[Text of Thursday, February 21, 2019 PDP Press Conference by Osita Chidoka, PDP Campaign Spokesperson and Chairman of Strategy Committee of the Presidential Campaign at Legacy House]